A dining 'Fantasy' on board Disney's newest cruise ship

Disney Fantasy, the newest cruise liner to join the Disney fleet, promises to offer families a cruise vacation that will live up to its namesake, bringing “Disney fantasies to life.”

Fantasy is the fourth ship to join the Disney Fleet and the sister ship to Disney Dream, but a vintage-inspired elegant décor and added technology and dining features make Disney Fantasy unique.

The dining options on board Disney’s newest cruise are creative and whimsical, with something to please guests of all ages.

Rotational Dining

Guests onboard the Disney Fantasy are not constrained to one main dining room. Instead, Disney utilizes its exclusive “rotational dining” feature to allow guests to dine in one of three main dining rooms every night, each one with its own unique theme. As guests rotate to different dining rooms, their servers join them. Disney says it’s important not to break the “emotional connection” guests build with their servers. Guests are given a schedule for their dining rotations at the start of the voyage.

Enchanted Garden, designed to feel like the gardens of Versailles, is one option for diners. Christine Weissman, manager of Food Standards and Menu Development, describes Enchanted Garden as “elegant, but still casual.” Weissman says the fare at Enchanted Garden is lighter, featuring a lot of reductions and light broths.

The seasonal menu features a fall/winter version and a spring/summer version. Seafood is abundant on the Enchanted Garden menu, including a Pan-seared Sea Bass with Fava Bean and Pea Risotto. But Weissman is careful not to do away with “guest favorites,” like slow-roasted prime rib. And for picky-eaters, a special childrens menu is available. Weissman says chicken tenders are popular among young cruisers.

Royal Court, another main dining room, is reminiscent of a Disney princess’ lavish ballroom. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling, the walls are decorated with mosaic tile murals of princesses and the custom-made bread baskets look like carriages.

The menu at Royal Court is chiefly continental French cuisine, but with a few surprises, like roasted wild boar served with a carrot and onion potato pancake.  Weissman says the grilled beef tenderloin is guest favorite. Royal Court also offers a large wine selection. The Disney Fantasy boasts over 140 wines onboard.

Animator’s Palate is the third main dining option for guests, and may be the favorite among young cruisers. Diners get a taste of Disney magic in what Dining and Quick Service Standards manager Anders Karlsson calls “the most unique restaurant in the entire world.”

The dining room’s theme is based on the classic Disney animation studio in Burbank, Calif. Television screens cover the walls and play clips from Disney and Pixar films featuring characters and food while guests are eating. Guests are asked to draw a character on the specially-designed placemats, which are then collected.

At the end of the meal, the lights in the dining room dim and guests turn their attention to the screens, where Mickey appears to deliver a short message thanking guests for their drawings and announcing it’s time for a little “Animation Magic.” The guest-drawn characters appear on the screen, fully animated, and are incorporated into Disney clips, dancing side-by-side with popular characters like Jiminy Cricket and Snow White.

The fare at Animator’s Palate reflects the dining experience’s creative theme, like the “Corn Three Ways” appetizer, which features popcorn soup, corn salsa and chicken coated with garlic-cheese popcorn.

Fine Dining for Adults Only

Disney Fantasy features two upscale specialty restaurants that are for exclusively for adults 18 years and older. These restaurants, Palo and Remy, require reservations and charge a cover ($25 for Palo and $75 for Remy).

Palo, which features Italian cuisine, is a restaurant onboard all four of Disney’s ships. Karlsson says the restaurant has been a “tremendous success.”  The atmosphere is described as “Venetian-feeling.”

Palo offers an extensive menu full of Italian classics and guest favorites like Branzino in Cartoccio and Beef Tenderloin “Palo,” topped with gorgonzola cheese or Palo’s signature red wine sauce. There is also an antipasti cart containing an assortment of meats, cheese and olives. Palo also offers a champagne brunch on longer voyages.

At the French-inspired Remy, award-winning chefs Scott Hunnel and Arnaud Lallement have created their own unique tasting menu options for guests to enjoy, as Executive Chef Patrick Albert collaborates with the advising chefs to execute their creations and to create several a la carte options.

The spare-no-expenses tasting menus are rich with flavor and elegance, with indulgent dishes like Gnocchi with Black Truffle and Vin Jaune, from Chef Lallement, and tasty innovations like Minnesota Elk served with Braised Red Cabbage Tart and Brussels Sprouts, from Chef Hunnel. The menus will change periodically.

Remy also offers wine pairings with each of the courses.

Options to Keep It Casual

Guests looking to grab some grub without dressing up can visit Cabanas, a food court featuring 16 specialized food stations.  Food options include American classics, stir-fry, sushi, soups and salads.

Cabanas is designed to have a “boardwalk feel,” with ocean views all the way around the restaurant and outdoor seating available.  Elaborate “Finding Nemo” tile murals adorn two large walls.

Flo’s Café is a quick-service option offering snacks like burgers, chicken tenders and salads.